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Old 01-03-2007, 12:53   #1
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The READING FC Thread - I think we deserve one by now!!

Hello All!!

As I have said above, I think Reading FC have done enough now to warrant our own thread on the DVD Sports Forum. Our chance to shine amongst the pantheon of stars like the Man UTD thread, The Arsenal Thread and the (lets all laugh at) West Ham thread.

As we sit here on March 1st, 28 premeirship games have passed and incredibly the Royals find themselves in 6th place in the Premiership. Can the impossible happen, can Reading surge into europe.

I dunno, I hope so. I really do.

Seeing as most people don't know anything about Reading apart from the fact that they employ a professional Goalkeeper assasination squad (comment courtesy Mr. J Mourhino) I thought I would spend some time explaining, who we are, what we do and why are we in the posistion we are in having spent virtually no cash!!

Reading broke all kinds of records last year in gaining promotion from the Football league. 106 points is now the benchmark for teams hoping to escape from the Fizzy Pop, this eclipsed Sunderland's 'unbeatable' 105 points earned in the '98/99 season. This record sits proudly alongside our records for most consecutive wins at the start of a season (13 in '85/86 IIRC) and consecutive clean sheets (11 in '78/79).

The foundation of the success of Reading has been the attitude that eminates from the very top of the club, with our chairman, John Mad House (so big a fan that he named himself after our stadium, good lad!) down through the Director of Football, Nick 'don't call me Nicky' Hammond and into the management team, lead majestically by some quiet bloke who used to play for Manchester Rovers or something.

That Attitude is.. 'WE DON'T DO BIG TIME CHARLIES HERE THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!'

Yup for better or worse for as long as I can remember the club have stuck to a moral and financial principle that underpins everything we do. The Chairman refuses to splurge cash on all and sundry, instead looking for a management team that can spot raw, young (cheap!!) talent from elsewhere and mould them into something special. Don't get me wrong, he will invest in the club, as evidenced by his generous building of the state of the art Madejski Stadium (Mad House to me and you) but it is worth noting that even the £30M odd for this was a loan (which he wouldn't give the club until they had a strategy to pay it back in the case of his early demise) and was conditional on him being allowed to bolt a bloody great hotel and conference centre on the side of the ground. He refuses to put the club in a position of financial frailty, one where we might 'Do a Leeds' and pour all of our hard work down the drain for the sake of signing Thomas Brolin. For this he should be saluted.

This ethos is further exemplified by the way the players are treated at Reading. A few examples...

All players must manually go to see the payroll lady (seriously) to collect their wages. Steve Coppell was quoted by the beeb as saying 'When a player believes he is too big a man to involve himself with the 'little people' he is too big for this club and can leave'

Each player must collect and redeliver their kit to our Kit man (the legendary Ron Grant) no leaving it lying around at this club. Also the players get only one set of free training kit a year. Anything that needs replacing, they pay for. Famously our keeper, Marcus Hahnemann, gives his shirt away to a kid in the crowd at every game. Each time he does so it costs him £40. He still does it.

Everyone at Reading trains together. The manager refuses to split the first team and the ressies wanting to avoid a fracturing of the bond all Reading players seem to share.


So, Has this strategy worked?

Well yes. Despite having no real superstars Reading continue to confound critics (specifically Mark Lawrenson, it fills me with glee to say) by performing as a tight cohesive unit that knows explicitly, the strengths and weaknesses of each componant part of the whole and will compensate for each failing without the whining, snarling, vitriol you so often see players of larger teams spitting at one another. When it all went wrong on Tuesday against UTD in the first five minutes, despite numerous personal failures, you will not have seen one scathing remark, one player bereating another. Instead, as ever, you will have seen Steve Sidwell furiously clapping his hands and encouraging his comrades to pull off the impossible. Which we nearly did. Nearly.

When recently asked about his meteoric rise from 'who' to 'better than shevchenko' Kevin Doyle was asked if he was ever nervous he might let himself down due to his lack of experience, he replied 'I am never worried I might let myself down but I am always terrified of letting the boys down.'
To me, that says it all.

So who are this motly crew, where did they come from and are they any good. Well I would suspect that many of you would not know too much about a squad that includes a club record signing that hails not from Inter or AC or Barca, but from Colchester United, so here are some notes on a few of the Reading team.

1. Marcus Hahnemann - Large keeper that has a liking for Guns and Fast cars, which pretty much confirms him as an American. Solid, steady and a little unspectacular, he saves the saveable and sometimes the unsaveable. But not often.

2. Graeme Murty - Came to reading from York City fresh from famously helping dump Man UTD out of the FA cup 3-0. Joined Reading in 1998. Voted the clubs best ever Right Back and is reigning BBC South Sports personality of the year. Our Captain, our leader and an all round nice bloke despite being a bit Scottish.

3. Shorey for England - Also called Nicky Shorey. Reading's only realistic claim for a spot in the England set up. Our Denis Irwin, never has a bad game, tackles like a madman, has pace and a savage left foot that delivers devastating crosses and set peices. Seemes only to be hampered by Steve Maclaren being unable to pick full backs that aren't called Neville. Oh also only cost us £25k from Leyton Orient.

4. Steve Sidwell - Copper topped midfield dynamo that started life at Arsenal where he won back to back FA youth Cups. Also voted fourfourtwo's best player outside of the top flight. Unfortunately has a wife that is part of ITV's Wag's Boutique so thank god the boy can play. Currently a contract rebel as the club sticks to it's guns and refuses to break it's wage structure. Even for him.

5. Ibrahima Sonko - Referred to by the reading faithful as 'Superman' often looks like he is going to get skinned all ends up but repeatedly pulls off miracle tackles at the last instant. A good, old fashioned, no nonsense row Z kind of defender. Exclellent in all aspects of the game that do not require craft, guile or any kind of passing. Close friends with Mr. Cock-up, whom he invites to the odd game now and again. I love him to bits

6. Brynjar Gunnarsson - Steady, combative midfielder. Nothing spectacular but does a job and is effective. Scored our cup equaliser up at Old Trafford. Comes from Iceland (the country not the chestily endorsed supermarket)

7. Glen Little - The only Reading player this year to have had previous Prem experience during a loan spell at Bolton aaaaaages ago. Winger, totally devoid of pace, but has an uncanny ability to know what a defender will do next and so does the oppsite. Ties defenders in knots. Nutmegs everyone and delivers a mean cross. Scored possibly our goal of the season last year, nutmegging 2 defenders before lobbing in from 18 yards.

8. Leroy Lita - Reading's first ever £1M player. Costing exactly that from Bristol city. Fast, strong, annoying would-be waste of space that has that strikers knack of scoring all the bloody time. Excels at holding up the ball and getting stabbed in nightclubs (twice so far this year). Scoring for fun at the moment. long may it continue. Did I mention he is annoying?

9. Kevin Doyle - God, genius, God. errr. young god. genius etc. Cost about £80k from Cork City, The buy of the century. As the Sun pointed out earlier in the year, as he cooly knocked in his 10th premiership goal of the season, you could get 380 Doyles for the price of one Shevchenko. Nice. Oh keeps commiting his future to the club by signing contract extensions, so mitts off greedy Russians.

10. Stephen Hunt - A granny hating, Puppy killing, mass murderer OR a no-nonsense, over excited left winger. Depends if you support Chelsea OR have a brain (note the intentional mutual exclusivity.) Makes up in effort what he lacks in skill. Measured against par, probably our top performer this season so far. The football equivalent of what would happen if you fed a Jack Russel a big bag of Skittles. Mad as a bag of spanners.

12. Dave 'Don't call me ginger' Kitson - Ginger Striker that scores many Ginger goals using his Ginger super powers. Once said to the beeb that people referring to his Ginger-ness was like calling a black man the 'N' word. Oh dear. Forever after called Ginger as much as possible. Scores goals too. Most of them kind of Gingerish in nature.

13. Me. Seriously!! Reading was the first club to officially register a squad number for its fans. According to the F.A. the player registered against number 13 is 'Reading Fans Everywhere' Awwwwww, sweet.

15. James Harper - Another refugee of the Arsenal youth setup. the most frustrating player I have ever seen. Does bugger all for ages (including tackling) and then prduces the most sublime pass you have ever seen in your life. Worth his place in the team but could be one of the best in the Prem (seriously) if he could consistantly deliver.

16. Ivar Ingimarsson - Brentford reject Premiership standard defender. Just goes about his job quietly and efficently. Ace and invisible all at the same time. Comes from Iceland. (the shop not the country).

So there you are a long read to be sure, but a worthy one my ego forces me to say.

On Saturday we face Arsenal, who despite being 5 players down will murder us. They are the Anti Reading. Play the same style of flowing, pacy ataccking football we do but do it with world class players not a bunch of Brentford rejects and icelandics...icelanders..icelandians...whatever.

Last edited by Scruffy the Janitor; 01-03-2007 at 17:35.
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Old 01-03-2007, 13:05   #2
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Excellent summary of the team! As a football fan I really do hope that Reading make it into Europe but if it comes to down either them or Spurs then I am sorry !
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Old 01-03-2007, 13:41   #3
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Will Reading make Europe..? No
Will they be relegated next season..? Most likely
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Old 01-03-2007, 13:50   #4
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I think Reading can be proud of what they have done so far this season. Only time will tell whether they can stay in the top flight for years to come. They certainly showed more passion and commitment than United the other night. Having said that the result shows that passion and commitment only take you so far. Good luck!
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Old 01-03-2007, 13:53   #5
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Lets hope they don't do a Wigan, first season in the Premiership was a fairy tale and are now struggling to do it again.
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Old 01-03-2007, 13:59   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonmac
Lets hope they don't do a Wigan, first season in the Premiership was a fairy tale and are now struggling to do it again.
Ipswich were the same IIRC.

Usually down to it taking the "regulars" a season to work out how the "new boy" plays so that next season, they don't do so well.
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Old 01-03-2007, 14:06   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by essex_max
Will Reading make Europe..? No
Will they be relegated next season..? Most likely
A real football pundit!
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Old 01-03-2007, 14:11   #8
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Reading have made far more friends than enemies in the PL this season.


Coppell has done a superb job there, and Reading have often been a joy to watch this season.
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Old 01-03-2007, 16:07   #9
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They wont get relegated next season.
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Old 01-03-2007, 16:53   #10
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Great summary OP, thanks I'd agree with evilsly about them winning friends this season and I wish them well.
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Old 01-03-2007, 16:55   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RasTa
They wont get relegated next season.
I really hope they do stay up next season but you only have to look at the likes of Ipswich and Wigan to see that after being promoted to the Premier League that all had an outstanding first season but struggled and even went down in Ipswich's case the second season.
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Old 01-03-2007, 17:28   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by essex_max
Will Reading make Europe..? No
Will they be relegated next season..? Most likely

Ahhhh, good evening Mr. Lawrenson. how are we today?
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Old 01-03-2007, 17:35   #13
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Scruff - you forget our crowning glory - the Simod Cup win in 1988 (followed closely by relegation back to the then Division 2)!!!
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Old 01-03-2007, 17:42   #14
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Scruff - you forget our crowning glory - the Simod Cup win in 1988 (followed closely by relegation back to the then Division 2)!!!
Didn't forget it Maz. As fate and my rotten luck would have it the glory of that day is eternally and intrinsically tied to our playoff defeat to Wallsal at Cardiff.

I can't think of that glorious day without also thinking of an attempted clearance bouncing off of the side of Don Goodman's enormous 'fro and consigning us to Playoff heartache.

So obviously tend not to think of it.

(All of which is code for 'you're right, I forgot to mention it)

Last edited by Scruffy the Janitor; 01-03-2007 at 17:43.
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Old 01-03-2007, 17:51   #15
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I have to say that that heartache was nothing compared with losing 4-3 Bolton in extra-time to miss out the Premiership (if it was called that then) in 1995 with 'archie' lovell having missed a penalty that would of put us 3-0 up :-( Still we wouldn't be enjoying this season and last if *that* had happened I expect.

As for staying up next season I suspect a lot will depend on whether the nucleus and stability of the team can be maintained. If a few key players leave then it could be a struggle next year. All good fun.
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Old 02-03-2007, 10:03   #16
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Square Grin

Quote:
Originally Posted by mazportico
I have to say that that heartache was nothing compared with losing 4-3 Bolton in extra-time to miss out the Premiership (if it was called that then) in 1995 with 'archie' lovell having missed a penalty that would of put us 3-0 up :-( Still we wouldn't be enjoying this season and last if *that* had happened I expect.

As for staying up next season I suspect a lot will depend on whether the nucleus and stability of the team can be maintained. If a few key players leave then it could be a struggle next year. All good fun.
This is probably the game that I remember most. Being glued to the tv in the pub. I was fairly goood friends with Ade Williams back then as we went to school together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scruffy the Janitor
12. Dave 'Don't call me ginger' Kitson - Ginger Striker that scores many Ginger goals using his Ginger super powers. Once said to the beeb that people referring to his Ginger-ness was like calling a black man the 'N' word. Oh dear. Forever after called Ginger as much as possible. Scores goals too. Most of them kind of Gingerish in nature.


First team to beat Arse at the Emirates I think
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Old 02-03-2007, 12:16   #17
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Upper West Stand, prawn sandwich eating season ticket holder here, just signing on to the thread

Last edited by mnementh; 02-03-2007 at 12:16. Reason: felt like it
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Old 02-03-2007, 13:06   #18
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I think the fact that Reading have done what they have with very few changes to the playing staff is the biggest achievement.

P.S. What do you lot think of Seol now? You were raving about him when he first started but he can't get in the team now ahead of Little. Finally realised he's a lightweight powder puff winger who can't be arsed 90% of the time have you?
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Old 02-03-2007, 13:12   #19
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Well done so far for Reading - last season a lot of pundits were wondering if any of the promoted teams were going to stay up. Proving them wrong, especially with largely the same team as last year, is a fantastic achievement.
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Old 02-03-2007, 23:31   #20
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Really good summary mate....shame they aren't very good at pro evo, or is it just me Have you a look at the gaming forum for where I finished in the championship with them

Anyway, back to rfc, you write up was 99.9% correct but don't kyocera, the reading fc sponsor, for those who don't know, now pay for the shirts hahnemann gives to the crowd?

Whats the deal with seol, he looked good when he joined, and not he looks like he just can't be bothered?

Also, Greg Halford......you spend £2.5 million, our record purchase, on a player who hasn't even made the squad, let alone the 1st team since joining from colchester, whats going on there?

At the start of the season, i looked at the fixture list and the only team which scared me was arsenal and i have a feeling they are going to slaughter us tomorrow, as they seem to play the football we don't know how to cope with, and also they got beat in the final of the carling cup and knocked out of the fa cup so i feel a backlash is due!

Oh yeah, Mark Lawrenson, every week he says we are going to lose on the bbc website, and then we go and prove him wrong alot of the time, he is a legend
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